Fight fans in Preston are in for a treat this weekend as boxing returns to the Guild Hall.
Rising light middleweight star Rick Skelton’s fight with veteran Bradley Pryce tops the bill but a host of other top local talent will be taking to the ring as part of the ‘Boxing is Back’ show.
The brainchild of renowned Preston trainer and former fighter Karl Ince, the event will see the sport back at the iconic venue for the first time in a number of years.
Twenty-one-year-old Skelton, who hails from Penrith but now lives in Preston, puts his perfect 12-fight unbeaten record on the line against journeyman Pryce.
The 33-year-old has lost 19 of his 54 professional fights during his career, but will be a dangerous opponent for Skelton.
In the past, he has been in the ring with some high-class opponents and once put down Chorley’s Michael Jennings in the first round, before going on to lose the British title fight in 2005.
“It’s going to be the toughest fight of my career so far. It’s going to be a massive occasion for me,” said Skelton, who was on the reserve list for the recent Middleweight Prizefighter show in Blackpool.
“I am confident that I will win but you don’t know how the fight will go until you get in the ring. I am unbeaten in 12 and I’ve had a couple of good fights,where I’ve been tested.”
His trainer Ince believes his young protege is starting to show his potential.
“Rick’s only a young lad but his power is starting to come through now,” Ince said.
“I’ve had a few of my fighters fight Pryce in the past, like Michael Jennings and Rick Godding.
“They both beat him so we’re feeling confident.” Super welterweight Godding makes his long-awaited comeback from injury on Saturday against an opponent still to be confirmed.
His last fight was indeed his victory against Pryce in Sheffield nearly two years ago.
Preston middleweight Mick Hall – fresh from his fine performance on the Prizefighter show – is expected to fight Dan Blackwell this weekend.
Morgan Jackson – another of Ince’s proteges – will take on Dean Mitchell at middleweight, while welterweight Kurt Grieve fights for a Bronze British Masters title against Chris Jenkinson.
“I can’t wait for the fight,” Blackburn-based Grieve said. “I’ve trained really hard for it and had lots of good sparring.
“He’s a good fighter is Chris. He has a losing record but he’s a lot better fighter than his record suggests.”
Morecambe super featherweight Isaac Lowe (21) is also scheduled on the Guild Hall bill hoping to extend his impressive unbeaten record.
At the other end of the weight category. light heavyweight Tomi Tatham will be hoping for another knockout performance against Elvis Dube.
The 25-year-old has already beaten Dube, knocking him out in the opening round at Winter Gardens, Blackpool, in 2012.
Tickets, both VIP and normal, are still available for Saturday evening. To purchase one, please contact the Guild Hall Box Office on 01772 80 44 44. For further information, visit www.prestonguildhall.com.